Healthy mind in healthy body

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  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Psychology Secondary Course

    Notes

    PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE 116

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    24

    HEALTHY MIND IN HEALTHY BODY

    One who is moderate in his diet, activities, exercise and duty, one whose periods of

    sleep and wakefulness are moderate, Yoga drives away his ailments.

    Body and mind are two parts of a whole. If mind is happy, we do our work actively

    and energetically. If the body is healthy, the mind also remains radiant, alert and

    enthusiastic. The Yoga school of thought tells us how to facilitate the body - mind

    functioning so that one may enjoy happiness, peace and fulfillment in life. Yoga, the

    science and art of life, was discovered by our forefathers and they handed it over to

    us as a priceless heritage. Its value is increasingly realized in todays world. Human

    life today is quite stressful. Yoga is a science that enlightens us regarding why we

    experience stress, tension and pain. It suggests a life style which is free from stress

    and pain. It makes our body and mind effective for leading a happy and healthy life.

    In this lesson we will try to understand the meaning and nature of Yoga, the different

    types of Yoga and some techniques to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit.

    OBJECTIVES

    After studying this lesson, we shall be able to:

    explain what is yoga;

    explain different types of yoga;

    describe the breathing techniques that ensure physical and mental vitality; and

    explain certain ways of concentrating and meditating.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Notes

    117PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    24.1 WHAT IS YOGA?

    Yoga literally means union i.e. being one with the Supreme Energy. It is communionof individual being with the universal being. It is a passage from ignorance to self-knowledge. Yoga is an effort towards self perfection. By helping the union of thebody with the mind and mind with the soul, it creates an impressive symphony oflife.

    Yoga is a science which leads to health in the body, peace in the mind, joy in theheart and liberation of the soul. It also means the discipline of the body, mind, intellect,emotions and will, giving poise to the soul. It transforms the inert body to the levelof vibrant mind into the union with the serenity of the higher consciousness or soul.

    Yoga is of great benefit to the entire humanity. In its essence it is a passage from theordinary consciousness in which we are aware only of appearances into a higher,wider and deeper consciousness.

    Yoga is also considered as a discipline for happy and effective living. There are twoaspects of Yoga: outer and inner. The outer aspect of yoga (vahirang) deals with theyama, niyama, asana and pranayama which revitalize our body and mind. The inneraspect of yoga (Antarang) includes controlling of senses (Pratyahara), concentration(Dharana), meditation (Dhyana) and Samadhi.

    Maharshi Patanjali defines Yoga as **;ksxf'pko`fk fujks/k%** It means that Yoga isregulation of mental processes. It is only through self regulation one can excell inperforance. That is why Yoga is also considered as the ability to perform actionswith excellence: **;ksx% deZlqdkS'kya**. In broad terms Yoga may also be said as anintegrated individual life style. Now, after knowing the meaning of Yoga, we shalltry to know about the different types of Yoga.

    INTEXT QUESTIONS 24.1

    1. Define Yoga according Patanjali.

    ______________________________________________________________

    2. What are the two main aspects of Yoga?

    ______________________________________________________________

    24.2 DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA

    Yoga has several types. Some of the main types of Yoga include the following. Ingeneral all systems of Yoga are meant for facilitating harmony, peace of mind, andself-regulation.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Psychology Secondary Course

    Notes

    PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE 118

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    (i) Hatha Yoga - This kind of Yoga aims at controlling the functioning of the bodyand helps channeling the flow of energy (Prana).

    (ii) Raja Yoga - It is meant for restraining the fluctuations in the consciousness(Citta).

    (iii)Karma Yoga - This is the path of selfless action (Anasakta karma) withoutexpectation of rewards. In Karma Yoga, you learn to do all actions in relaxation.

    (iv)Bhakti Yoga - This refers to the path of devotion and surrender to God. Theperson forgets his own self and existence and merges with the identity of God orhigher consciousness. Bhakri takes many forms of relationship (e.g. friend,servant, beloved).

    (v) Gyan Yoga - This form of yoga emphasizes on removal of ignorance and seekingof spiritual knowledge. People form wrong impressions about themselves andcontinue with masks that lead to egotism and conflicts of various kinds.

    There are some other types of Yoga. Every practice of yoga requires some preparationand control over our food habits and other aspects of life, which will be discussed ina subsequent section.

    INTEXT QUESTIONS 24.2

    1. What is Karma Yoga?

    ______________________________________________________________

    2. Explain the meaning of Raj Yoga.

    ______________________________________________________________

    24.3 YOGA TO KEEP FIT

    The practice of yoga involves attending to the functioning at different levels ofexistence. Techniques to gain mastery over body, prana, and mind diet, yogasanas,at body level, breathing practices and Pranayamas at Prana level and meditation atmental level have been developed. By following these practices one can remain fit,active and energetic without any medicine.

    1. Diet

    Yoga places great importance on diet because the kind and quantity of food that weeat determines our temperament. It is said that having right kind of food purifies themind and soul vkgkj'kq)kslRo'kqf)%

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Notes

    119PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    When the food is pure, the mind becomes pure. When the mind becomes pure,memory becomes firm. And when a man is in possession of firm memory, one isable to perform various tasks in competent ways.

    Gita speaks about three types of food Sattwik, Rajasik and Tamasik. Sattwik foodis recommended because it is nourishing and warm. It does not trouble the digestivesystem. It gets assimilated in our body easily. Rajasik food is oily and spicy. It ishard to digest. Tamasik food is dry and stale. It is harmful for the system. Milk andsprouts are examples of Sattwik food. Spices and oils are Rajasik food. Left-oversand junk food are Tamasik food. According to Yoga, Sattwik food makes our mindbenevolent, Rajasik food makes us restless, and Tamasik food makes us lazy anddull.

    Besides food, proper rest and sleep are also necessary to keep oneself fit. Rest, freshair and proper exercise are the needs of our body. Do you know why we need exercise?Without exercise body loses its elasticity. It becomes heavy, accumulates fat andtoxins and gets rapidly worn out.

    2. Yoga Asanas

    You must have heard about various Asanas. They are body postures that make ourbody muscles supple and improve the blood circulation in the body. They tone upthe activities of brain, glands, nerves, tissues and cells. If practiced regularly, Asanascan protect us against cold, fever, headache and stomach disorders. The Asanas aredesigned to bring the body into a condition where the healing forces of nature areable to do that work. Here, we are going to learn about some of the Yogic posturesthat help us keep fit.

    Precautions while Performing Asanas

    Asanas should be performed preferably early in the morning in a well ventilatedroom.

    Bowels must be cleared before starting the Asanas. It is not desirable to havebath immediately after the Asanas.

    Asanas must be performed on a musk spread on hard ground. Clothing shouldbe as light as possible.

    Breathing should be normal while performing the Asanas.

    Do not eat immediately after Asanas.

    It is advisable that the asanas should be done after learning the proper methodsof doing the asanas by a Yoga-teacher.

    Shavasan should be the last Asana, so that you get enough rest.

    Let us learn about some of the main Asanas.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Psychology Secondary Course

    Notes

    PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE 120

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    Paschimottan Asana (Stretching back and legs posture)

    Technique - Sit on the floor with both legs stretched straight in front of you and takea few deep breaths. Exhale and extend the hands to catch the toes, keep spine andthe legs straight. Extend the spine and keep the trunk close to the extended legs, Pullthe trunk forward and touch the forehead to the knees and gradually rest the elbowson the floor, After you have gained flexibility, you will be able to have grip of thesoles of your feet, resting the chin on the knee. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds toone minute according to your capacity and revert back to the starting position.

    Benefits - This Asana tones the abdominal organs and kidneys and rejuvenates thewhole spine and improves digestion. A good stay in this Asana will message theheart, spinal column and the abdominal organs. This Asana is strongly recommendedfor those suffering from high blood pressure. It also strengthens knees, improves thefunction of pancreas and corrects the functioning of regenerative system.

    Sarvang Asana (Shoulder Stand Posture)

    Technique - Lie down with your back on the floor. Keep the palms down near thebody. Bring the heels and toes together and keep them loose, and look towards theceiling. Make your legs straight with toes stretched. Inhale and start lifting both legstowards the ceiling, Lift your back so that the weight of your body rests on the neck,give support to your lifted body by placing the palms on the back. Your elbows willbe bent and will remain on the floor, let the hands help in pushing up the body so thatit is balanced perpendicular on the neck. When the body has been raised to a maximumpoint, stay there and breathe normally. Stay in this position for 3 minutes in thebeginning increasing the capacity upto ten to fifteen minutes. Then come down withcaution after folding your legs from the knee slowly landing them on the floor. Raiseyour head and entire body to the resting position and breath normally.

    Benefits - This Asana activates all parts and organs of the body. Because of theinversion, the gravity pull will enhance circulation of blood. It provides energy, innerstrength and vitality. The greatest benefit of this Asana is that it nourishes and activatesthe thyroid and parathyroid glands. It also provides blood supply to the brain, improveslung functioning, throat and larynx functioning, enhances memory capacity andconcentration and strengthens leg muscles.

    Shavasana (Complete Relaxation Posture)

    Technique - Lie down with your back on the floor keeping your feet a little apartforming a 30 degree angle. Keep your arms straight on either side, fingers a littlecurled up, Breath normally and close your eyes after an intent gaze on the roof. Startrelaxing your feet, waist, chest, neck, arms, and head one by one with completeconcentration. If relaxation is proper, your breathing will become slow and shallowwith a feeling of bliss and sleepiness; stay for ten to fifteen minutes and then rollyour body to the right and stay there for a minute before you get up.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

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    Benefits - This asana is very beneficial. Its immediate effect is complete relaxationof all the muscles, nerves and nervous system, the brain and all the organs of thebody. Persons suffering from insomnia, nervousness, tension, axiety, acidity, highand low blood pressure and heart troubles benefit from this asana.

    Shalabh Asana (Locust Posture)

    Technique - Lie full length on the floor on the stomach, with the face touching thefloor. Keep arms stretched on each side of the body and close to the hips. Now raisethe legs, upward as high as possible, taking the support of the fisted hands by pressingthem downward to the floor. Keep your chest and head on the floor and breathenormally. Stay in this pose for 10 to 15 seconds in the beginning and graduallyincrease the period according to your capacity.

    Benefit - This Asana helps digestion and relieves gastric troubles and flatulence. Itrelieves pain in the sacral and lumber regions. Persons suffering from slipped discsare also benefitted. The bladder and prostate gland too benefit from this Asana.

    Ushtra Asana (Camel Asana)

    Technique - Kneel on the floor and keep your thighs and feet together. The toesshould point backward and rest on the floor. Then bend backwards by lowering thehead and hands, touch the heels with the palms of the hands, with your head lookingup and backwards. Keep the thighs straight and the back arched. Feel more stretch inthe chest, abdomen, neck, throat, shoulders and waist. Stay in the pose for 30 secondsor more according to the capacity.

    Benefits - The posture improves the problems with shoulders. It corrects anydeformity in the legs. The heart is massaged making it healthier. The chest is developedand abdominal organs and the back are toned.

    Dhanurasana (Bow posture)

    Technique Lie on the stomach. Bend the knees while keeping them together. Takethe ankles in the hands and rest the chin on the ground. Inhale as in complete Yogicbreathing, then raise the legs, head and upper parts of the body while arching theback. Remain in this position as long as possible, breath regularly and direct attentionto the lower part of the spinal column (pelvic region). Now, relax the body graduallyand return to the original position. Repeat the exercise two or three times, thenrelax.

    Benefits This Asana loosens up the spinal column. It also tones up the abdominalorgans. The exercise stimulates the endocrine glands and is excellent for womensuffering from irregular or faulty menstruation. It also prevents fat from formingaround the stomach and hips.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Psychology Secondary Course

    Notes

    PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE 122

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    Halasana (The Plough Posture)

    Technique - Lie on the back with the arms stretched by the side of the body, palmsflat on the ground. Inhale through normal breathing, exhale and slowly raise the legsstretched vertically. Supporting oneself by the arms flat on the ground, gently lowerthe legs behind the head until the tips of the feet are touching the ground. Remain inthis position for a few seconds and breath normally. Now return to the startingposition.

    Benefits - This Asana is extremely beneficial for the spinal column. The wholeregion receives an abundant supply of blood which revitalizes the nerves and musclesof the back. Exhaustion and fatigue quickly disappear. The position also has aregenerating effect on the glandular system, and clears up menstrual disorders. Regularpractice may prevent fat forming around the stomach, hips and waist.

    Bhujang Asana (The Cobra position)

    Technique Lie on the stomach, with palms on the ground underneath the shoulders.Inhale in yogic breathing. Supporting oneself-lightly on the arms, slowly raise thehead and trunk, leaning backwards as far as possible without raising the abdominalregion from the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds, then exhale slowly andgradually return to the starting position.

    Benefits During the practice of this Asana, the muscles of the back are activated,exerting pressure on the vertebrae from the neck to the lower part of the spinalcolumn, and provoking a copious supply of blood to this region, thus toning it up.This Asana may correct slightly slipped discs. It also soothes backaches, has abeneficial effect on kidney (adrenal glands) and stimulates digestion.

    INTEXT QUESTIONS 24.3

    1. How do Yogic postures help us attain health?

    _______________________________________________________________

    2. What are the benefits of performing Pashchimottan asana?

    _______________________________________________________________

    3. How many asanas have you learnt in this lesson? Name any three.

    _______________________________________________________________

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Notes

    123PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    24.4 PRANAYAM

    Yoga says that Prana is not merely breath but it is a form of cosmic energy. It is thelife-giving principle which is everywhere. By breathing exercises it is possible toenhance the circulation of Prana in the body.

    Activity 1

    An Exercise in Concentration

    Concentration is focusing our mind on a particular object-internal or external.Internal could be your heartbeat. External could be a candle flame.

    Try this simple exercise in concentration. Look at the second needle of yourwatch or a clock on the front-wall. Remain aware of your breathingsimultaneously. See how long it takes before your mind begins to wander.Very few people can focus their concentration for even a short period of time.Like any other skill, concentration improves with practice.

    Unfortunately, most of us do not know how to breath, though we breath every momentin our life. Only babies know how to breath in a natural way. In natural breathing,when we inhale the navel and lower abdomen bulge out a little, and when we exhale,the navel and the lower abdomen sink down a little. It is called abdominal breathing.

    In order to enjoy good health, a person needs at least 60 deep breaths in a day.Shallow breathing is directly or indirectly responsible for a number of physical andmental diseases ranging from common cold to nervous disorders. To function properly,our brain requires oxygen three times more than the rest of the body. If it does notget its share, it extracts it from the total supply to the body. That is why manyintellectuals tend to have a poor physique and bad health.

    Deep breathing not only refreshes the whole system but also cleanses it. We shouldlearn deep breathing. We must re-educate ourselves in the ways of living in the lightof Yoga system. The functioning of our mind is closely related to breathing. Whenwe are calm, our breathing is deep and slow. When we are excited and agitated, ourbreathing is shallow and fast. Vice versa is also true. When we deliberately slowdown our breathing rate and consciously take deep breaths, then our perturbed mindbecomes quiet and is at peace.

    Normally, we breath between 13 to 15 times per minute. It has been observed thatthe animals like tortoise breath 5 to 8 times per minute and live much longer thanhuman beings. It is also observed that people with addictions like cigarette and liquorhave greater breathing rates and their longevity is limited. When we run fast ourbreathing rate increases temporarily but with the exercise, our muscle tone andcirculation increases. That, in turn, slows down and deepens our natural breathingand increases our longevity.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Psychology Secondary Course

    Notes

    PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE 124

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    Activity 2

    Observing your breath

    Sit on a chair or on the floor, with your back and neck straight and your bodyrelaxed. Take air in and let it out (inhalation and exhalation) as if you were onthe seashore observing the ocean waves. With each intake of breath, feel thatyou are breathing in fresh energy and vitality with the oxygen. With each outtake of breath, feel that you are breathing out tiredness, fatigue, negativity andtoxins as you expel carbon dioxide. Feel the fresh, vitalizing energy permeatingyour body and mind as you continue with the exercise.

    Sit quietly with your mind peaceful and calm.

    Some more exercises in Pranayama are as follows:

    1. Pooraka : Taking air in slowly and consciously deep inhaling.

    2. Rechaka : Giving air out slowly and consciously deep exhaling.

    3. Kumbhaka : After inhalation you keep the breath in for a few seconds orafter exhaling you stop for a few seconds before inhaling. Thisshould be done under proper guidance.

    4. Kapalbhati : You exhale fast and inhalation is automatic. This clears thesinuses and provides a gentle massage to abdominal muscles.

    5. Bhasrika : This is brisk breathing. Inhaling and exhaling is quick and fast.

    6. Sheetali : Here we give a tune like shape to our tongue and slowly inhalethrough our mouth and slowly exhale through the nose. Insummer this Pranayam makes our body cool.

    7. Seetkari : Here our upper teeth line and lower teeth line touch each other.We inhale slowly through mouth and the air massages our gumsgently. In the same way we exhale through mouth pushing airout gently through the passages between the teeth.

    8. Nadi Shuddhi: Here we take air in from left nostril and give it out throughright nostril (Anulom-Vilom). Then again we inhale from theright nostril and exhale from the left nostril. This is one cycle.One should do at least five cycles at a time three or four timesduring a day. This purifies our body. Simple deep breathingalso helps a lot in gaining enough oxygen supply for your brainand the rest of your body.

    INTEXT QUESTIONS 24.4

    1. What is prana?

    _______________________________________________________________

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Notes

    125PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    2. What are the effects of deep breathing?

    _______________________________________________________________

    3. List any four exercises of Pranayama?

    _______________________________________________________________

    24.5 MEDITATION

    We have seen the place of exercise, eating, sleeping habits, Asanas, and pranayamain life. This is preparation for meditation. Yoga compares the mind with a lake.When agitated and restless, the lake can not reflect the sky. Only when it is calm andundisturbed, it can mirror the sky. In the same way, a calm and poised mind canreflect the universal energy. The final aim of meditation is to gain the vision of truth,to realize the oneness with all life and to enjoy peace and bliss.

    Activity 3

    An exercise in meditation

    Sit straight with your back, neck and head in one line. Let the body relax.Observe your breath for about two to three minutes.

    Later, imagine that there is a white lotus at the place where your eye browsmeet, or at your heart. Internally feel the tender touch of the bud, see it bloominggently, opening up its petals and smell the lovely fragrance. Be with it as longas possible.

    You can see a white flame instead of a bud. See it between your brows or atyour heart. Mentally, feel its glow and warmth. Remain in this experience aslong as possible.

    For meditation, relax your body, sit comfortably in padmasana or sukhasana (squattingposture), keep your spine neck and head in a straight line. Let your chest spread outa little. First concentrate on your breath and breathe deeply. Exhale fully and inhaledeeply a few times. Let the mind follow the breath and listen to its sound. Just listento that and you will be able to hear the humming musical note within you. This is apart of cosmic vibration. By concentrating on this inner vibration, you will be intune with the cosmic sound. Then all the ripples of thoughts and emotions will quieten.The lake of your mind will become still and you will experience peace and bliss. Inthis state of silence you will forget all differences and become one with all life.

    INTEXT QUESTIONS 24.5

    1. What is the final aim of meditation?

    _______________________________________________________________

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Psychology Secondary Course

    Notes

    PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE 126

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    2. What posture do we adopt in meditation?

    _______________________________________________________________

    3. What are the benefits of meditation?

    _______________________________________________________________

    WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT

    Yoga is a system of physical, mental and spiritual training for a healthy andhappy life.

    Yoga teaches us what the good habits of eating, drinking, sleep, exercises, work,thinking and relaxing are.

    Being moderate in eating, exercise and enjoyment is necessary if we want tolead a healthy life. Asanas and meditation help develop mind and sharp intellect.

    Yoga is also defined as excellence in action.

    Yoga helps us in our studies, in improving our health and relationship with theworld.

    Yoga teaches us about asanas which are beneficial to maintain our physical andmental health and prepare the ground for spiritual development.

    Yoga also teaches us how to breathe properly. Breathing exercises are to controlour breath and bring us physical poise and mental peace.

    Meditation is for gaining the vision of truth, to realize the oneness with all lifeand to enjoy peace and bliss.

    TERMINAL QUESTIONS

    1. Enlist the various Yoga types given in your text book.

    2. Define Gyan Yoga.

    3. What is the goal of meditation?

    ANSWER TO INTEXT QUESTIONS

    24.1

    1. Study of consciousness and its operations.

  • MODULE - VIIYoga : A Way of

    Life

    Notes

    127PSYCHOLOGY SECONDARY COURSE

    Healthy Mind in Healthy Body

    2. Yoga is control of thought waves arising in the ocean of mind.

    3. Outer and Inner.

    24.2

    1. Self-less (detached) action without expectation of reward.

    2. Emancipations through spiritual knowledge.

    24.3

    1. Asanas make our body muscles supple and improve blood circulation.

    2. Takes the abdominal organs and kidneys.

    3. Eight (i) Savang Asana (ii) Halasana (iii) Shalabh Asana

    24.4

    1. Prana is the cosmic energy.

    2. Deep breathing refreshes and cleanses the whole system.

    3. (i) Poorka (ii) Rechaka (iii) Anulom-Vilom (iv) Kapalbhati

    24.5

    1. The final aim of meditation is to gain the vision of Truth.

    2. Padma-asana or Sukha-asana.

    3. In meditation we come in tune with cosmic sound then all the ripples of thoughtsand emotions are quitened.

    Hints for Terminal Questions

    1. Refer to section 24.2

    2. Refer to section 24.2

    3. Refer to section 24.5